The IAAF World Indoor Championships in Poland were the first real test in the 60-meter hurdles for Janay DeLoach Soukup of Fairbanks, the Olympic bronze medalist in the women's long jump. She passed with flying colors in the new event .
DeLoach Soukup advanced to the finals and placed fifth, missing a medal by just .04 seconds.
“Disappointed? Of course but I did better as a first time hurdler (fifth) than I did a first time jumper(sixth). #perspective,” she wrote on her Twitter account.
Her times at World Indoors got faster and faster as the competition advanced – 8.01 in the first round, 7.93 in the semifinals, 7.90 in the finals.
DeLoach Soukup decided to switch her focus from the long jump to hurdles this indoor season. It’s not like she just picked up, though. She has done both events since high school and was all-conference in both at Colorado State.
In the long jump, she is a national champion, World Championships silver medalist and Olympic bronze medalist.
The uber-athletic 28-year-old wants to compete in the heptathlon in the future. Right now heptathletes are probably scared to death to see a world-class long jumper and hurdler coming their way.
Van Williams, a 20-year local sports writer and the former sports editor of the Anchorage Daily News, writes about the athletic exploits of Alaskans for the Alaska Sports Hall of Fame. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.